Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content Can't find what you're looking for?

Job profiles

Children's nurse

  • Hours

    37.5 per week

  • Starting salary

    £21,909 + per year

If you enjoy helping and caring for children, this job could be ideal for you. A children's nurse provides care for children and young people with a wide range of conditions.

As a children's nurse, you will need the ability to comfort, reassure and gain the trust of patients. You’ll need excellent communication and listening skills. You’ll also need the authority and confidence to deal with children or parents in stressful circumstances.

To work as a children's nurse, you will need a Nursing and Midwifery Council approved degree. You must also agree to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.​​​


Work activities

A children's nurse provides care for children and young people (under the age of 18) with a range of conditions often linked to acute or long-term health problems.

Children are not always able to fully communicate how they are feeling. As a children's nurse, you would use your skills and knowledge to interpret children's behaviour and recognise when their health has deteriorated.

Your duties would usually include:

  • working with doctors to assess the needs of ill, injured or disabled children
  • deciding what level of nursing care is required
  • working closely with parents and carers to help them cope with having an ill child in hospital
  • teaching parents or carers how to care for their child after returning home

The practical nursing care you give could include:

  • checking temperatures
  • measuring blood pressure and breathing rates
  • helping doctors with physical examinations
  • giving drugs and injections
  • cleaning and dressing wounds
  • administering blood transfusions and drips (intravenous drips)
  • using hi-tech medical equipment

You would work closely with other professionals including healthcare assistants, doctors, social workers and health play specialists.

With experience, you could go on to specialise in an area such as burns, child protection, cancer care, neonatal nursing or intensive care.

Working hours and conditions

You would normally work 37.5 hours a week, which can include evenings, weekends, night shifts and bank holidays. Many hospitals offer flexible hours or part-time work. Extra hours may also be available.

You could work in a special children’s hospital or hospice, on a children’s ward in a general hospital or, after further training, in paediatric intensive care. You could also work in the community, at a GP practice or at a child health clinic.


Nurses can earn between £21,909 and £28,462 a year. Experienced nurses working as advanced practitioners, clinical specialists or nurse team managers can earn from £26,000 to around £41,000. Nurse consultants can earn upwards of £41,000 a year.

Extra allowances may be paid to those living in or around London.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Entry requirements

To qualify as a children's nurse,  you will need to study for a degree in children's nursing leading to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

To do a degree, you'll normally need:

  • at least five GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and a science
  • two or three A levels, including at least one science or health-related subject
  • good references

You will also need to pass occupational health checks and background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). See the DBS website for more information.

Contact course providers for exact entry requirements, as other qualifications may also be accepted, such as an Access to Higher Education or Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. If you already have a health-related degree, you may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course at the course provider's discretion.

You can find course providers on UCAS and the NMC website. The NMC website also has application advice.

When applying for a course, it may be helpful if you have some relevant paid or voluntary experience. You can check the Do-it website and also contact the voluntary services coordinator at your local NHS Trust for information about volunteering opportunities.

Alternative entry routes

You could prepare for entry to a nursing degree by doing an apprenticeship in healthcare. Schemes vary between NHS Trusts, but will normally include clinical placements and working towards a qualification like the Level 3 Diploma in Clinical Healthcare Support.

To find out more visit GOV.UK and contact your local NHS Trust.

If you are an experienced healthcare assistant or childcare worker in a healthcare setting, with a level 3 qualification and you have the support of your employer, you may be able to complete a part-time nursing degree by applying for a secondment. Check with your employer for details about secondments.


You may be eligible for NHS funding to do a nursing degree, which would include course fees and a bursary to help with living expenses. Funding options for training are currently under review, so check with NHS Student Bursaries for more details.​

Nurses trained outside the UK

If you're a qualified nurse from outside the UK you may need to take further NMC-approved assessments or training before you can register. Visit the NMC for details.

Training and development

Once you have started a nurse training programme, you will divide your time between university study and supervised work placements in hospitals and in the community. Most courses are full-time and take three years to complete.

A children's nursing degree will cover many areas, including:

  • foundations and theory of nursing practice
  • developing observation, communication and teamworking skills
  • health promotion strategies for children and young people
  • anatomy and physiology
  • medicine management
  • managing the care needs of children and young people
  • safeguarding
  • professional standards and code of practice

Throughout your course, you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills by working in a variety of settings from neonatal clinics to children's centres.

Your progress through the course would be measured through a combination of coursework, assessment, exams and project work.

With further study (for example to masters degree level) you may be able to apply for advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) posts. Experience in these roles can lead to a nurse consultant job. Nurse consultants work directly and independently with patients, carry out research and deliver training.

Professional registration

As a qualified nurse you must renew your professional registration with the NMC every three years. To renew, you need to have worked a minimum of 450 hours and completed at least 35 hours of professional development training during the three-year period. Check with the NMC for details.

If you are already a registered nurse and want to move into a different branch of nursing, you may be able to apply for a shortened 18-month training programme.

Return to practice

If you are a former registered nurse wanting to return to the profession, you can take a return to practice course to bring your skills and knowledge up to date. See the NMC website and contact your local NHS Trust for more details.

Skills, interests and qualities

To become a children's nurse, you will need to have:

  • a genuine interest in helping and caring for children
  • good observation skills
  • the ability to make decisions and act quickly when you notice changes in children's health
  • the ability to comfort, reassure and gain children's trust
  • excellent communication and listening skills
  • an awareness of the variety of techniques for communicating with children, such as play
  • the authority and confidence to deal with children or parents in stressful circumstances
  • the ability to teach parents or carers basic nursing skills
  • physical and mental stamina
  • good organisation and time management skills
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • a mature, compassionate and sensitive manner

More information

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (Opens new window)
23 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7333 9333

Health Careers (Opens new window)
Tel: 0345 60 60 655​​

Health Learning and Skills Advice Line
Tel: 08000 150 850

Skills for Health (Opens new window)
Tel: 0117 922 1155



You will find most jobs within the NHS, however you could also work in the private sector and in schools.

With experience you could progress to sister, ward manager or team leader with responsibility for running a ward or a team of nurses in the community. You could go on to other management roles, such as a matron or director of nursing.

With further study (for example to Masters degree level) you may be able to apply for advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) posts.

Experience in these roles can lead to a nurse consultant position. Consultants work directly and independently with patients, carry out research, and develop and deliver training. 

As a children's nurse, you could train as a health visitor, neonatal or school nurse, or practice nurse in a doctor's surgery. You could also become self-employed or work overseas.

You may find the following useful for vacancies and general reading:

Job market information

This section gives you an overview of the job area that this profile belongs to. You can use it to work out your next career move. It can help if you’re looking for a job now or want to do some further training.

The 'Market statistics' charts are based on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The list of job vacancies under 'Apply for jobs' is from the Universal Jobmatch database. The vacancies are not from the National Careers Service.

Median income: Healthcare
Avg Inc
UK Sector
27017 33884
Gender: Healthcare
Female Male
76 24
Working pattern: Healthcare
Part-time Full-time Self-employed
31 54 15
Gaps in sector due to skills shortages: Healthcare
This sector All vacancies
33 23
Employment forecast: Healthcare
Forecast Employment Figures
Year Predicted nos. employed
2014 1178000
2015 1197000
2016 1202000
2017 1219000
2018 1251000
2019 1272000
2020 1291000

Jobs available on Universal Jobmatch

DateJob TitleCompany NameLocation
22/09/2016Paediatric Registered Nurse –Paediatric OutpatientsNHS JobsSouthend University Hospital, Southend on Sea
21/09/2016Paediatric Registered Nurse –Paediatric OutpatientsJobs in the NHSWestcliffe on Sea
27/09/2016Paediatric NurseMedacs HealthcareEastbourne
27/09/2016Part-Time Paediatric Nurse/Specialist with complex needsAdzuna
27/09/2016Senior Paediatric Nurse - CYP ServicesAdzuna

Find jobs on Universal Jobmatch.

Search for a job with Universal Jobmatch. Your search results will open in a new tab.

Please enter a job title
Please enter a town or postcode

Get skills in..

Want to get the skills needed to be prepared for this job? Click on the links below to see relevant courses.

Find more courses


Apply for an apprenticeship

Want to search for apprenticeship vacancies whilst on the move? Download the AV Search app….

Download From App Store Download From Google Play Store

Get skills in..

Want to get the skills needed to be prepared for this job? Click on the links below to see relevant courses.

Found a term you're not sure about?

Visit our A to Z glossary


Career Tools